Jessee Rose Crane and Philip Jerome Lesicko are The Funs. The Funs are responsible for creating an album called Alienated. Alienated is an album of significant noise, beauty, and boldness; it’s available on Sister Polygon Records.
As album titles go, ‘Alienated’, may feel a little too on-the-nose. Will there be any space for subtlety? Well, yeah – across the ten tracks of the sequence The Funs sprawl through a diverse set of textures. Their enquiries through things lead them up, and down alternating avenues. The momentum is always strong; the impulse is to explore with one hand, and to create with the other. And in these pursuits there are poetic nuances, hard-rocking moments, and disarming moments of authentic tenderness.
There’s no strict pattern, but the duo shift between instruments and vocals – taking turns to conduct duties in each area. There’s no authority, but the artistic obligation to work. The result here is a patchwork whose theme may be alienation, or isolation – but it also includes an openness of heart, and an eagerness to engage with all aspects of being a human on a planet.
A track like ‘Forget Me Not’ exemplifies the larger sequence. A simple, chugging riff triggers a series of lyrics that reflect the modern condition, before collapsing into the corroded drum-machine at the close. “Sincerity becomes / A dirty word / And what you really / Care about gets blurred” The device of fragmenting lines is continued throughout the album; this is how we digest information now. Bite sized aspects of larger schemes. There’s a poetry in twisted reality to one side or another. The Funs know it, and they enjoy the urgency of DIY ‘punk’ as an art form.
Operating from an old funeral home, which has been converted into an artist’s residence, The Funs anti-capitalist approach to creation has been well-documented with a highly prolific output of stuff. The atmosphere of an aged building, and a reimagined space, feels to have infected the process here. Production, aside from being Lo-fi, willfully leans into the rough cut, the frayed and soften edges. Hygiene is a dirty word. Authenticity is key.
With no concern for commercialism the freedom to do as the impulse dictates is felt across the album. A number of songs shift-shape through their own progress. “Fur Cup” which is about one very definite thing, morphs the description, and so shows different aspects of the subject – a pleasing punk cubism occurs. – Look at it this way. Now look at it this way. The sonic results, of course, are pleasing – and repeated plays only improve the details that you gather along each spin.
Psychedelic elements add a scent to things. ‘Into the Mirror’ could have been called ‘Through the Looking Glass’. Yes, there’s a clear moment for reflection – but even the analytic process, for all of it’s clarity, is called into question. What’s real? What can we do with the facts once we’ve learned them? Misty, moody, and a little off-kilter – it’s these moments that give the unique identifiers, and charm.
Weighing in at over ten minutes long, closing track ‘Power’ undersigns everything else that has come before. There’s a real sense that The Funs decided to leave it all on the pitch with this track. Almost operatic in it’s distorted, synth-string scale, there’s a pleasing fracture that runs throughout. Through all the force, expanded perspective and distortion, at the heart of this track, and throughout the album, is a kind of frailty that exposes the truth of a band.
HURRY – BUY – THE FUNS MUSIC